People hoping for sex change offer organs for penis transplants

2015-06-01 06:30
Surgeons carry out the world's first successful penis transplant. (Stellenbosch University)

Surgeons carry out the world's first successful penis transplant. (Stellenbosch University)

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Cape Town - A number of people hoping for sex reassignment surgeries are among those eager to donate their organs towards penis transplants.

While future surgeries are currently on hold as the first recipient recovers from the ground-breaking surgery, the team responsible has been inundated with requests from men hoping to be considered for the operation.

Professor Andre van der Merwe, the head of Stellenbosch University’s Division of Urology who led the nine-hour operation at Tygerberg Hospital in December last year, told News24 the 21-year-old recipient is being monitored as the team check for possible improvements to be made for future operations.

“He, however, is doing extremely well both mentally and physically,” Van der Merwe said. “I am in weekly contact with him and am very satisfied with his recovery.”

Fourteen men are currently on the waiting list.

The next surgery will take place once a cost analysis has been completed and “all the lessons from the first [operation] have been learnt”.

Inundated

Since the widely publicised surgery, Van der Merwe said he had been inundated with emails from people hoping to be selected for surgery.

“Some of these people have real problems, while others are of the assumption that their penis is just too short,” he said.

People hoping for sex reassignment surgery have also offered to donate their penises, but the cost implications of this are currently not feasible.

“Currently we are only accepting the organs of men who have been declared brain dead and are multi-organ donors,” he explained.

Tygerberg Academic Hospital may only operate on people living in the city who would normally use the services of the government hospital.

“But some are so keen they have moved down to Cape Town to be considered for the transplant,” Van der Merwe said.

Trial study

As the transplant is currently still a trial study, only young healthy men who are HIV negative are being considered.

“The potential recipient must have absolutely no penis left to qualify for this procedure. This must be due to ritual circumcision, but can later be expanded to men who have lost their penis due to penile cancer or congenital abnormalities.”

Applicants are screened to determine if they are psychologically stable to accept an organ and to determine if they will be able to comply with the programme.

Those with psychological problems or substance abuse issues will not be considered, he said.

Read more on:    tygerberg hospital  |  stellenbosch university  |  cape town  |  transplant  |  circumcision  |  health  |  medicine

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